It can be argued that the seeds of the distrust we have for government, and especially government commissions, were purchased on this day, 50 years ago. There were watered by the Warren Commission as it tried to not explain just what had happened to a popular, sitting U.S. President in broad daylight. And by the time we arrived at Watergate and the Church Commission, those lusty seeds were in full bloom. Pierce:
One argument with which I have no patience is that the distrust of the Warren Commission, a distrust that has remained remarkably consistent for five decades, is based in our disbelief that a great leader could be gunned down by an ordinary schmoe with a cheap rifle. This. we are told, is too much for our delicate sensibilities to handle. This is arrant, infantilizing nonsense. At the time of his death, John Kennedy had a national security establishment that was a writhing ball of snakes. (Not for nothing did he insist that his White House cooperate with the filming of Seven Days In May.) There were the ongoing plots against Castro in which his brother was intimately involved. There is a contemporary memo for something called Operation Northwoods that called for what we would now call “false flag” operations within the United States, including blowing up John Glenn on the launching pad in Florida, that could be blamed on Cuba and used as a pretext to invade. You can see a copy of it in the John F. Kennedy Library. Since then, we have seen Vietnam, Watergate, Iran-Contra. Richard Nixon sabotaged the Paris Peace Talks to help him get elected, and Ronald Reagan’s people may have done the same thing with the release of the hostages in Iran. Don’t tell this generation that we don’t believe the Warren Commission out of some mushy, mythical notion of proportionality. There is no proportionality to the deceptions involved in official murder. We’ve read enough Graham Greene to know that. We watched enough happen on the television. We can see a church by daylight.
An author friend wrote a book about the Kennedy assassination, and just a few of our conversations convinced me that it was a conspiracy without end – one for which it is even difficult to find the beginning. And it still hangs there, as we do, bound by its purposeful mysteries, unable to move forward in many ways because of them. We are a resilient country with a odd penchant for renewable Original Sin.